Executive Board

The Executive Board meets at different location throughout the Metro the first Thursday of every month.  Interested in becoming a board member, and would like to sit in on a meeting.  Just get in touch with either the President or Vice President to see where the next meeting is.


Jacob Busiahn

Jacob Busiahn

Arboriculture is a fairly recent endeavor for me. The majority of my life has been spent working on my family’s farm in southwest Minnesota, as a helicopter mechanic in the National Guard, and working in residential construction. In 2010 I was introduced to the ‘tree industry’ and haven’t looked back. I am currently the natural resources technician for the City of Shakopee, MN where I focus on the management and coordination of urban forestry operations. Previously, I was a forestry technician for the City of New Brighton, MN and a research assistant at the University of Minnesota Urban Forestry Department—where graduated from in 2012 with a B.S. in Forest Ecosystem Management and Conservation.

Contact Jacob

Vice President

Valerie McClannahan


These days, trees are all I breathe, almost quite literally.  I currently work for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a Senior Planner in Urban and Community Forestry.  Before that, I had been the Urban and Community Forestry Volunteer and Program Coordinator at the University of Minnesota.  I received a B.S. in Horticulture with a Minor in Urban Forestry, and am in the midst of completing my M. Ed. in Adult Education at the University of Minnesota.  My free time is spent focusing on bettering the programs and education offered by MSA, volunteering on the Shade Tree Short Course committee and the Arbor Month committee.  I also hold a place on the board for Brewing a Better Forest, a non-profit dedicated to getting all Minneapolis trees watered, and all Minneapolis citizens with a brew in hand.  If I’m not charging my focus towards trees, then I’m focusing on trees, going camping, hiking, cross country skiing, sitting outdoors drink in hand, when I can with my husband Liam and dog Pando.

Contact Valerie


Jay Maier


Jay Maier founded Maier Tree & Lawn in Rochester, MN in 2000.  He has been heavily involved in efforts in SE MN to raise awareness of the benefits of trees and good tree care.  These efforts include the Rochester Arbor Day Events, the Rochester Arborist Workshop, and RNeighborWoods.  He has served on MSA’s Executive Board since 2009.


Mark Gertner

Mark Gertner has been on the Executive Committee since 2016. He is an ISA Certified Arborist with both municipal and private tree care experience, and currently works for a tree care company specializing in tree disease diagnosis and treatment.  Mark holds a B.S. in Urban Forestry from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. In his free time, he enjoys woodworking, just about anything outdoors, and spending time on his grandparent’s tree farm.

ISA Council Representative

Jim Vaughan

Jim Vaughan 05 2013

Jim retains two Bachelor Degrees from the University of Minnesota (Forest Resources and Science Education) and a Master’s Degree in Public Health Toxicology, also from the University of Minnesota. Jim has worked for the City of St. Louis Park for the past 28 years, serving in various capacities during this time, from Tree Inspector to Park Superintendent, culminating in his current position of Natural Resources Coordinator overseeing and managing St. Louis Parks’s natural resources; which include wildlife management, community forestry, stormwater management, native landscapes and other related areas. Jim is currently on the Board of the Minnesota Society of Arboriculture and  is the current President of the Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee.

Executive Administrator – Staff

The incomparable

Heidi Van Schooten


Heidi Van Schooten is the MSA Executive Administrator and has held that position since 2010. She also runs a tree care company with her husband and serves as the Treasure of a Board for a small Montessori School. She is a former Art Educator, having taught in high school classrooms for over 7 years. She is a practicing ceramic artist and community education Pottery teacher. She holds BA’s from Bethel University (Cultural Studies) and from the University of Minnesota (Studio Arts) and an MA from Saint Catherine’s University (Education).